These new year chats and mentions all over my TV, social media, and in casual conversation at the grocery store check out can get my mind racing...the shoulds kick in...I start to wonder if I have thought enough about my blessings, spent enough time being thankful, gotten the photo albums updated enough, cleaned out the clutter enough???? What about the goals and promises to be a better me for the new year? These thoughts carry with them a certain over caffeinated energy of angst and worry, of lack and less-than-esk residue. The sense that no effort will ever be enough. You know that feeling of an old pair of jeans that it’s time to realize do NOT fit any longer...keep trying? Toss to goodwill? Sell on Poshmark? Add to the burn pile? And a new cycle emerges...the decision fatigue begins to weigh down my joints.
Three deep breaths…
and slow exhales…
feeling my feet on the ground
and the beat of my heart. Thump thump thump
The tempo of the quiet returns.
There is still a whisper of angst and worry, but it’s different because there is enough space to hold it...enough space to make room for anticipation and a little settling as well. Space for slower reflection and a fine tuning of my spirit, body, and mind.
I find myself in this stillness still feeling aligned with the innate sense that cultivated in mid-December. The quiet hum of nesting much like that of when I was about to bring my girls into the world...decorating, making room, cleaning out the corners of drawers and closets. I cannot say for sure why this feels so cathartic to me in a season of anticipation, as I am fully aware that the closets and drawers aren’t on display, except to say, it’s a way of outwardly expressing an inward process of preparation. Resetting. Re-organizing. FInding a peace in connecting with this space I call my home. The preparation for the coming of the Christ is wholly different than the expectation at the end of a Christmas parade. Or is it? Because usually it feels a little anticlimactic doesn’t it? Santa isn’t quite cherry enough or missed my basket with his thrown candy or his beard was crooked...No, the Christ isn’t obvious in a big red suit...We have to find a different lens to see His vulnerable debut. Look in less likely places, in less adorned suits...he came as a baby in the least likely place for a Savior to be born... because aren’t our Saviors better dressed in nicer houses with families of influence and glamour? Aren’t Saviors influencers with tens of thousands of followers with the perfect 2x2 life, shiny cars and Pinterest worthy closets and the 10-Steps-to-Perfect plans?
So I found myself nesting again, just like last year and the year before awaiting the BIG day. And now Christmas has come and gone. The New Year conversation has taken the 1st place position. Is it too late to ask about someone’s Christmas now? It’s already January 2nd for Heaven’s sake...but the hum of my nest is still audible. So I will
keep the tree in the corner even though the garlands and bows from the hearth and gifts have gone. I heard a story this Christmas season that the evergreen tree is a reminder of how God is constant for us when everything else dies and goes dormant for the winter...like an evergreen, God stays for us. So my evergreen reminder will remain for another few days as I slowly shift to this new year, the new decade...one day at a time, one moment at a time. And if you are like me and need some simple steps to a New Year, New You that isn’t self-mutilating and deprecating...Here’s a three step process we can try…
Be present to right now. What does this moment bring me? How am I feeling in my body? What emotions are showing up right now? (Ahhhhh...I know, lovely, it’s tempting to start figuring it out and judging here, but that’s not part of this step. NOTICING and being AWARE are the names of this game...simply SEEing, FEELing, and BEing yourself for a moment without looking away and stuffing it down. What thoughts like to pop up on the regular and hijack whatever I am doing? What is in this moment right now? Sometimes I jot down these awarenesses in my journal and sometimes not.
Three deep breaths...it’s too simple right? Try it. Slow inhales. Slow exhales. Notice again. And then carry on.
Repeat throughout the day when you feel yourself getting anxious, derailed or disconnected.
Maybe a simple step will make itself known to you; something like,
“Go fix a glass of water for yourself.”
“Walk the dog.”
“Water the plants.”
As you lean into what that stillness offers you and follow the simple small steps, you may find yourself on a path after all...the one that’s just right for you...kind of like that vulnerable humble start for the baby...maybe He really was showing us the way, the truth and the light...our beginnings can be quiet, humble, unexpected means to a beautiful grace filled existence.